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||Dear Nicey and Wifey|
I'm not sure whether your excellent website covers the topic of Tea Shoppes, but as you are connoisseurs of all things tea related and must on occasions travel about the countryside and find yourselves in desperate need of a cup of tea, I thought you might be interested in our experience in a Tea Shoppe in Shaftesbury, Dorset. We were in the town on Saturday following an ebay run to collect a nice pine wall mounted dresser top and, badly in need of refreshment, we spotted an idyllic looking Tea Shoppe which should remain nameless but can be found in close proximity to the Sherlock Holmes Dolls House and Miniatures Emporium. On enquiring if we could partake of tea, we were informed that they were only doing 'tea and cake' as obviously they didn't want riff raff in who would just order one cuppa and sit there cluttering the place up all afternoon. Which was fine as what we wanted to order was a cream tea plus cake. They did a cream tea with one scone or a cream tea with two scones, so we thought we would order a cream tea with two scones, share the scones and then share a piece of cake. BUT I made the mistake of mentioning the sharing bit at which point the lady in charge rather frostily pointed out their 'sharing policy'. They had little notices on the table saying that their prices were according to portions and if you shared they would add on 25%. This seemed such a bizarre notion that we asked for further clarification. She just repeated 'our sharing policy is as explained on your table'. Rather than quiz her further on whether they had an 'I can't finish all this, will you have some of it?' policy, it seemed easier to settle for the cream tea with one scone and abandon the idea of sharing altogether, but then there was the question of the cake. I can never eat a whole piece, so asked Hubby which we should have, but then I remembered the 'sharing policy' and panicked. Meanwhile the lady was sighing. rolling her eyes and tapping her pencil very loudly on the pad, so I just chose at random. When it came we had to wait until she left the room to share the one scone and cake in case we incurred the additional 25%. Now I can understand a policy of 'Set Teas Only' at busy times, which I believe they apply in the excellent Polly Tea Rooms in Marlborough, or a policy of charging for extra scones, but I find it hard to understand a 25% penalty for sharing. Surely once you have purchased the tea, scones and cake, how you divide it up is a matter for the individual. I think this lady is worthy of a Basil Fawlty Award for Customer Service, although she did do herself out of a couple of quid by not letting us have the cream tea with two scones to share.
Forgive me for boring you with this tale but I do believe this sharing policy needs to be put to the test- possibly by Michael Winner, although he would probably not be inclined to share his scones and cake anyway.
Thank you for your lovely website.
|Nicey replies: Gripping stuff Barbara, and I understand your pain of random cake choice under pressure. It is best to get these things off your chest, otherwise the resentment could lead to to some nasty scene years later, such as the wilful taking any unused little pots of jam.|
|Mary Ann Lund
Thanks for your wonderful website!
Wise as your advice invariably is, I can't agree with your reply to Linda Dunn that a teaspoon is a vital part of tea preparation. By trying to whip the teabag out of the mug without one, you may, as she says, get burned fingers. But there lies the dangerous thrill of the tea-making process. Will you grab it in one, giving barely a tingle to your agile fingers? Or will you be forced to plumb the depths of the mug, risking health and safety in your quest for the lurking bag? Coffee-drinking has nothing on this.
(surrounded by Yorkshire tea and Choco Leibniz)
|Nicey replies: More complex psychological constructs and dangerous behavioural responses designed to allay your unwillingness to wash up teaspoons I suspect (are you a student?).|
I thought you might be interested to see my teapot blog? All the latest teapot news updated virtually every day. It has been in the news locally recently.
All good wishes
|Nicey replies: I think we may have spied a few of your teapots when we were on tea tour in Cornwall the other year.
I took this picture in Lakes teapots next to the quay in Looe.
||Dear Nicey et al,|
After many years, my kettle has died. Well it isn't really mine, a friend gave it to me after they got a new kettle. It many ways it was a brilliant kettle, after my previous one. This one had an on/off switch, a removable lid and removable cord. All very useful things in a kettle. Though removing the lid meant you could see how filthy it was inside. Due to the chlorine in the water, it has gone a lovely blue/green inside. Anyway, this afternoon after making one last cup of tea (Queen Mary), it started making loud popping noises and emitting black smoke. Now I am sure that this is not a design feature so is best to say good bye and go bye a new kettle.
|Nicey replies: Luke,
Very sorry to hear about the loss of your kettle. It makes me want to rush downstairs and make a big fuss of ours.
I was rather hoping you could offer some advice.
My lovely girlfriend and I are going to the Far East for 6 months soon and, although they do have some wonderful varieties of Tea over there, I am concerned that we may find ourselves longing for that Great British Taste at some point or other.
Now, as Tea Bags and their packaging are liable to splitting when put under continued stress, do you know of any practical, yet classy method of transporting Tea Bags. I am always aware that I am travelling in an almost Ambassadorial role when it comes to the Great British Taste so presentation is also of the utmost import whilst abroad.
Many thanks in advance for your help and, of course, for the pleasurable moments spent in front of nicecupofteaandasitdown.
|Nicey replies: You are very wise to plan ahead like this. Wifey just returned from a short girls trip to Florence with marathon running Bezzer, and she forgot the tea bags (it normally falls to me to remember them). After four days of Liptons Yellow Label she returned home late Monday night in a quite scary tea frenzy.
I find those re-sealable sandwich bags do a good job. Providing you don't put too many tea bags in them (60-80) then they can be easily packed inside other things and act like tea flavoured flow wrap. The space inside of shoes is very appealing but you might want to double bag them for that.
Also six months is a long time, so you'll need to develop sensible techniques to maximise the longevity of your stash. I would suggest that you certainly look at our preferred two cups from one bag method, or the use of a small pot. Finally you might want to to get some more sent to you, or preceding your arrival. If your employer is sympathetic to your needs then maybe you can have some sent to a regional office by your colleagues back home. The setting of supply dumps are the sorts of techniques used by explorers, mountaineers and advancing armies to ensure vital supplies are in place.